Math Tutor for Third Grader

Updated on March 30, 2011
M.E. asks from Deerfield, IL
8 answers

My daughter is behind in math and since we may be changing schools we want to help her get up to speed. She's a little resistant to studying with me and I'm thinking about a tutor or a math tutoring program such as Kumon, Sylvan, or something similar. She would need to work on multiplication, addition and subtraction. In the past we had a wonder reading tutor that helped increase her confidence and reinforced the basics of reading. She started reading late (2nd grade) but once she learned she reads like crazy. I'm thinking math might be the same. I don't think she has a learning disability just a little slower picking up new concepts. Any suggestions about what might be the best type of tutoring and how do you find an individual tutor? She currently attends a small Montessori elementary school and their suggestion was Kumon. Thank you!

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answers from Houston on

i highly highly highly recommend sylavans. I sent my oldest to it for the summer and he made amazing progress. He went from low d's to mid b's enough to pass.

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answers from Honolulu on

Yes, good idea. Especially before 4th grade.
Because, in 4th grade, the school work takes a jump up in complexity and in expectations. In all subjects.

I have a Math Tutor for my girl. She is in 3rd grade.
She just needs a little help.
Nothing major.

But I found her Tutor, at a bookstore where she was Tutoring another kid.
I noticed and observed. Then I liked what I saw and approached her. She is a fully certified Teacher, has a Master's degree, was a Supervisor at Sylvan, taught at an Elementary school, and does not charge much compared to others. Because, she wants to make tutoring, accessible & affordable for kids who need it.
My daughter LOVES her. And she is good.

So, you can look on websites like or ask schools if they know of any Tutors or retired Teachers or Teachers who tutor on the side, etc.

But, yes, my Daughter's Teacher and her Tutor both said... BY 4th grade, a child really needs to have the basics down pat... because in 4th grade the school work complexity really moves ahead. And, if a kid does not know her/his math basics by then, they will flounder.

Kumon... is taught via drills and memorization.
It is not one on one.
Sylvan, teaches math in a more conceptual way.
But in schools... the school itself teaches math in their own way too. SO, if your child learns math from Kumon or Sylvan, it 'may' not be the same way that she is learning IN her school's math class.
That is what 1 Mom told me, who's kids go to Sylvan. But yes, both approaches... are good... and have good results.
But they both teach in different ways.

Good luck

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answers from San Francisco on

My daughter is in third and has the same issues. I have heard great things about Sylvan, but they were too expensive for us. We checked out Kumon, but it was just drills and the kids kept doing the math over and over until it was stuck in their heads. That's not for my daughter. We found a middle school girl who is in advanced math and tutors on the side. She tutors my daughter once a week, and she really loves it. I think the best thing is to check with her teacher or school if they know of anyone. I later found out that some of the teachers at my daughter's school actually do after-school tutoring as well.

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answers from Washington DC on

Maybe a high schooler who wants to be a teacher can tutor her for a lot less than the high end tutoring businesses cost. Contact the local high school and see if they have a Future Teachers of America chapter.

I have heard good things about Sylvan though.

Here's what we do, we homeschool and play a lot of math games.
Go through her multiplication facts every day. Only do one number a day, so if you are working on threes that is all she does, every number she multiplies is 3 X ?
We have flashcards, I made our own with index cards.

When you do any cooking double the recipe or half it and have her help you figure out how much flour, baking soda, etc, the recipe needs. YOu will have to help her a lot first but she'll get the idea and the cookie when she's done.

Take her to the grocery store and have her estimate how much the bill will be. Only buy two or three things at first then gradually have her do the whole bill.

THis is tricky for 3rd grade but later have her figure out the tip at restaurants. Mine actually try to get the bill first now to see who can figure it out fastest. THey are in 4th, 7th, and 11th.

Count out loud at the dinner table to 50 or 100. You say ONE she says TWO. THen you just mouth or whisper one and she says out loud TWO, this way she is hearing 2,4,6,8. Do it with threes and fours too. YOu whisper one, two and she says THREE really loud.

Count by 2's, 3's, and 5's. So instead of saying 1-2-3 Time Out say 5-10-15 Time Out.

We have a book of Skittles math and Cheerios math. You use Skittles, M&M's and Cheerios to learn math concepts. THen they get to eat the candy.

Practice cutting foods into halves, quarters, thirds, etc. Pies are good for 6ths and 8ths.

Make it fun and she will look forward to it.


answers from Kansas City on

Let me tell you EXACTLY what you need. We just discovered this ourselves and we've been a member on this site for almost 2 years. Go to and sign up. It's only 9.95 per month. Sign your son up at the 3rd grade level and then when you click on the math section, you'll click on the homework helper box. This will take you to a site that has TONS of books and workbooks starting at the 3rd grade level. You can use any of these books or all of these books. You can go through the book page by page and see overviews done step by step by various teachers. Every book explains the same concepts slightly different. Some teachers are better than others just like in everyday life. You'll have chances for quizzes and they work out examples for all the problems in the whole book. They group the problems into like problems. You'll find video tutorials for anywhere from 1 problem at a time to 10+ problems at a time. They use drawings and highlighting and different colored markers. This is the BEST and cheapest tutoring available. It goes all the way to highschool including the hard math.

You will need to have the internet browser firefox and you will need to use the help section on Cosmeo to check to see you have the current plug ins. On top of the step by step tutoring, you can watch videos over every subject, every age, and nearly any subject you can think of. This has totally rescued my daughter and she's gone from being angry about math to loving it.

Also, you can get the content you need geared towards your states guidelines.



answers from Chicago on

Talk to your child's teacher about finding a certified teacher to tutor her. It will be much cheaper and just as beneficial as sending her to a tutoring center (which can cost upwards of thousands of dollars). I was a private tutor to supplement my teaching income, and most of my clients had looked into Sylvan only to find it would be $3000. Talk with people in your neighborhood that can ask the local public school for a tutoring list. They might have one.



answers from San Francisco on

You can check with your local community college. Some of the student who are working to be teachers or the like actually need and get college credits for tutoring. As for Kumon, I had my grandson there for a while. It did him a world of good and I really liked their philosphy. You should go to one of their orientations before making a decision. They are also much more affordable than Sylvan.



answers from Minneapolis on

I am a certified teacher who privately tutors. I ran a tutoring center similar to Sylvan before my first was born and decided to tutor privately when the center closed (recession) and I was pregnant.

Sylvan and KnowledgePoints are some of the better centers out there. You will pay about $40 + an hour & pay for an initial diagnostic fee (look for discounts). These programs work, but you will be told to have your child come 3-5 hours a week. Depending on the age your child and her other committments, this may be too much.

I agree that you need a person to work with her over a computer program. It is the positive reinforcement and individualized approach that will drive her to do better and increase confidence.

If you are trying to find someone outside of a center, I would suggest calling local schools and ask them if they have someone they use or use Make sure the person is a certified teacher and has a background check ( can run people's backgrounds).

I've taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades. In my opinion, third grade is one of the hardest grades EVER. Kiddos go from barely adding and subtracting to multiplying and dividing; handprinting to cursive; understanding HOW to read to reading for understanding; writing simple sentences to paragraphs; etc., etc., etc..

I think getting a tutor for your daughter is a wonderful thing. The sooner she becomes confident with math, the better. Often kids take a bit longer to grasp a concept and once they do, school has moved on to a new one. I am also assuming if you change schools it will not happen until next year? If not, I wouldn't hesitate getting a tutor or starting her in a program.

Also remember that the odd grades are for introduction of information and the even grades are for mastery. 4th grade will be a lot like 3rd, but with an extra layer.

I hope that was helpful!!! Good luck. And if you don't find the perfect fit for her, find a new person or place.

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